jazz series


Harriet & Charles Luckman
Fine Arts Complex
Contact: Diane Turner
Phone: (323) 343-6610
FAX: (323) 343-6423


Pianist Cedar Walton leads an all-star group of seasoned
jazz performers in rescheduled performance

A rare gathering of stellar jazz vocalists and instrumentalists performs one time only, Sunday, April 21 at 4 p.m. at Cal State L.A.'s Luckman Theatre. (The performance was originally scheduled for February 4.)

Pianist Cedar Walton leads the all-star ensemble featuring tenor saxophonist Harold Land, vocalists Carmen Bradford and Ernie Andrews with John Clayton on bass and Jeff Hamilton on drums.

"This exciting ensemble of esteemed and veteran jazz performers was brought together for a dynamic celebration of melody and rhythm for the discriminating and novice aficionado," says Luckman executive director Cliff Harper, himself a jazz-lover.

Cedar Walton remains an omnipresent force on the jazz scene since his beginning, more than 25 years ago in after-hours gigs which introduced him to notable musicians like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and John Coltrane, who would sit in with Walton's group when they passed through town.

Walton ventured to New York in the early '70s and began to work with Lou Donaldson, Gigi Gryce, Sonny Rollins and Kenny Dorham before landing his first touring job with J.J. Johnson. Walton made his debut recording backing Dorham and made two records with Johnson's group before joining the Art Farmer/Benny Golson Jazztet and later Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

He has made his mark as a composer of now-standard jazz works like Bolivia, Clockwise and Firm Roots and his efforts have been well-documented on vinyl. These include Cedar Walton Plays and Cedar Walton Plays Billy Strayhorn. In addition, Walton is noted as a leader of rhythm sections and trios throughout the New York club and recording studio circuit. He remains a working member of both a jazz trio and sextet, the latter of which also features Harold Land.

Harold Land, the consummate tenor saxophone artist and easily one of jazz's premier improvisers, will always be remembered for his scintillating performances with the masterful quintet led by trumpeter Clifford Brown and drummer Max Roach in the mid-50s and with the internationally acclaimed quintet he co-led with Bobby Hutcherson in the late '60s and early '70s. Most recently he has received acclaim for realizing his long-held dream of performing with the lush backdrop of a string section with the recording A Lazy Afternoon.

Land's rugged, individualistic style and trademark expressive tone, mixing compelling melody readings with alluring improvisations were nurtured more than 45 years ago. His earliest recordings were for Savoy and he toured and recorded with the famed Brown-Roach quintet. He later made albums with bassists Red Mitchell and Curtis Counce. His debut album and later albums of the late '50s can be considered some of his best early recordings.

He also began performing with Gerald Wilson's orchestra and with pianists Hampton Hawes and Carl Perkins, becoming an essential cog in the wheel of Los Angeles jazz. His renown spanned the continents when he formed a quintet with vibist Bobby Hutcherson in the late '60s and they recorded and toured the U.S. and Europe.

A member of the Timeless All-Stars, with Cedar Walton, and a resident of Los Angeles, Land remains one of the most impressive and deep improvisers in jazz.

Captivating in her stylings, her energy and her sharp delivery, Carmen Bradford's vocal acrobatics and maturity extend well beyond her 34 years. Bradford, who was raised in Pasadena, came from a musical family (her grandfather, Melvin Moore, was a singer with Dizzy Gillespie's Big Band in the 1940s; her father is talented jazz trumpeter/composer Bobby Bradford and her mother, Melba Joyce, is a respected vocalist and composer in jazz and Broadway musical circles).

Bradford's well-honed skill as a vocalist comes as no surprise when you consider the fact that she was hired by the legendary William "Count" Basie at the tender age of 22. She toured with the celebrated Count Basie Orchestra for nine years, under the tutelage of Basie and his later successors, Thad Jones and Frank Foster.

Her reviewers call her one of "the best and brightest of young female singers," say that she is "in the spotlight she deserves," that she is "a singer with a strong voice, open ears and the tenacity of a stage queen," that "the size of her voice and the conviction of her readings separate her from most of her peers," and they honor her with the title of "Miss Jazz."

Most recently, she worked with Cedar Walton on her latest recording,With Respect, which further establishes her as one of the decade's most exciting vocal stylists.

Versatile balladeer, hard-swinging jazz and rhythm singer, and blues shouter, Ernie Andrews has a raw vitality that communicates instantly. Dubbed the Crown Prince of the Blues in his teens after chalking up three hits (Make Me a Present of You, Soothe Me and Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin'), Andrews became the band singer for Harry James and his orchestra in 1959. He played some of the largest audiences and concert halls around the world until he left the band nine years later for a short stint with Cannonball Adderley. Andrews rejoined Harry James for one more year before deciding to "go it alone."

After 40 years in the music business, Andrews gained increased recognition for his extraordinary talent in a documentary entitled Ernie Andrews: Blues for Central Avenue (referring to Los Angeles' main artery for the thriving jazz scene in the mid-40s). In addition, Los Angeles proclaimed July 24, 1986 Ernie Andrews Day.

Motivated by a love for his craft, Andrews has remained a consummate professional, an integral part of Los Angeles jazz history and an influence in the music world. His sterling reputation among musicians remains constant and his critics agree that he has a rare quality that spans eras as he reaps the harvest of performing in his later years.

Combining forces with fellow professionals John Clayton on bass and Jeff Hamilton on drums, these legends of jazz bring a powerful performance to Southern California at Luckman Theatre.

Luckman Theatre is part of the Harriet & Charles Luckman Fine Arts Complex, located at the Eastern Avenue exit of the I-10 (San Bernardino) freeway, on the California State University, Los Angeles campus. Luckman's beautiful red brick structures house one of the newest performing arts theatres and fine arts galleries in Southern California. The fine arts gallery -- free to the public -- is open one hour prior to each theatre performance and Monday through Thursday and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. For theatre ticket information call the Luckman Fine Arts Complex (323) 343-6610.

Luckman Theatre presents rare gathering of stellar jazz vocalists and instrumentalists.

All-star jazz ensemble lead by pianist Cedar Walton and featuring tenor saxophonist Harold Land, vocalists Carmen Bradford and Ernie Andrews with John Clayton on bass and Jeff Hamilton on drums.

Luckman Theatre at Cal State L.A., junction of I-10 (San Bernardino) and I-710 (Long Beach) freeways.

Sunday, April 21 at 4 p.m.

Luckman Theatre (323) 343-6610; $25/$22 general; students/seniors $12.

Luckman information -- (323) 343-6610.

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